RCC circles the wagons after restroom rape

Medford campus officials offer counseling, escorts, re-evaluation of security system

Security escorts and counseling are available for Rogue Community College students following a reported rape at the school's downtown Medford campus Friday.

"This incident, while apparently not related to the college by anything more than geography, is saddening and disturbing for us all and serves as a stark reminder of our need for care and vigilance of our surroundings," Vice President of College Services Curtis Sommerfeld wrote on the RCC Facebook page.

Sommerfeld said that security escorts are available at all RCC campuses. A 24-hour security number can be called at 541-218-2930. Counselors also are available to talk to students about the incident if needed. Call 541-245-7552 or 541-956-7192 for more information about those services.

Medford police said a rape and sexual assault occurred at about 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at the Riverside Campus' B Building.

Juan Fidencio Holman-Ramirez, 33, allegedly tried to fondle a 24-year-old woman he had met on the street, then followed her into a nearby unisex bathroom, police said. Neither Holman-Ramirez nor the woman are students or staff members at the school, police said.

Holman-Ramirez is suspected of raping the woman. She was treated at a local hospital for injuries she suffered during the incident. No one else was in the lobby at the time, police said.

Holman-Ramirez was arraigned on numerous charges, including sexual assault, sodomy and rape, in Jackson County Circuit Court Monday. He remains in the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bail. Court records show Holman-Ramirez has a long history of sex crimes in Jackson County that stretch back to 2003.

RCC officials said students should exercise caution and look out for each other, especially with the Riverside campus being open to the public and in downtown Medford.

"I suppose the overall message is that we need to stay alert," said Margaret Bradford, RCC director of marketing and recruitment. "The Riverside campus is an urban campus. It's an open campus. There are members of the public who come onto the campus and into the buildings."

RCC officials said they are continuing to gather information about the incident. They said they have provided footage from security cameras in the area, and the B Building restroom where the alleged rape took place has been closed temporarily.

"We are also re-examining our current security structures and practices, and we will continue to explore options to enhance our current system," said RCC Vice President of Instruction Kirk Gibson in a written statement.

Bradford said RCC staff members are considering holding an open meeting on campus to take comments and questions from students regarding potential changes to security measures. The meeting has not been scheduled.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.


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